To say that mock drafts are an inexact science goes without saying. Ultimately, they are collections of educated guesses and pretty much worthless in predictive value aside from obvious choices at the top of the order. And this year, even that last item is not the case, as the Cavaliers debate whether to pick Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, or a number of other options. All of this notwithstanding, merely by attempting to make sense of a crapshoot of a process, we stir the imagination and at least introduce the possibilities for what your team will be looking at in your range, which is all you can ask for on draft night.
This brings us to nba.com's most recent mock draft, in which Scott Howard-Cooper gives his prediction for the Lakers' second rounder this year:
48. Lakers, Andre Roberson, Colorado, SF 6-7, 205
Not merely the Pacific 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Roberson was one of the best defenders in the country with NBA-level athleticism and rebounding.
|Height w/o shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Vertical (no-step)||Vertical (max)||Lane agility||3/4 court sprint||Bench press|
Roberson is a name we haven't covered in any of our draft pieces so far and that isn't any reflection on his talents. An athletic forward out of Colorado, Roberson largely played the four and was one of the best rebounders in college basketball; despite being undersized, he finished sixth and second his first two seasons in rebound rate before falling a bit down to earth in his junior season, although he was still impressive statistically even then. The Lakers were a good defensive rebounding team last season, but getting help on the wing in that regard can do nothing but help the team. Roberson's attention to rebounding extends to his defense in general, as he's long, quick, and uses his athleticism well in checking multiple positions. Colorado was one of the best defensive teams in the country and Roberson was a big part of that as he was switched onto various offensive threats and secured the defensive boards.
What will change on the next level is that Roberson will almost certainly have to play the wing: he is 6'7'' at only 205 pounds, something that a 6'11'' wingspan can't compensate for. This will force him to do a lot of things on offense that he's simply not ready to be effective at this upcoming year. Roberson doesn't possess a good handle, has bad mechanics on his jumper, and doesn't possess a hope of creating his own shot. Going away from the four and to the three, he will have far fewer putback attempts and opportunities to be effective on the offensive boards and will be largely be making his presence felt on offense through cuts and occasional straight-line drives from from the wing.
His NBA future will ultimately rest on how well he can develop his jumper, however, something he was never especially good at in college. His 38.0 3P% as a sophomore obfuscates how few attempts per game he had and there is still the aforementioned bad mechanics. Still, you can teach this as players develop; doing the same for athleticism, rebounding instincts, and defensive upside isn't the case. Of all the prospects available in the Lakers' range in the second round, Roberson probably has the highest defensive ability and although he will be very limited on offense immediately, one can easily see him having a noticeable impact on the other end.
When we observed the Lakers' weaknesses going into this offseason, their defense and overall athleticism on the perimeter, especially with Metta World Peace almost certainly going to be a victim of the amnesty provision, were their key needs. Roberson is probably the most emphatic way of directly addressing those problems and is only a spot-up jumper away from a very long career in the league. Again, any projection has to tie his prospects to how well he brings his jumper up to par and Mike D'Antoni will no doubt be loathe to play him significant minutes until he starts nailing shots from range. Nevertheless, versatile, long, and athletic defenders are key components to effective team defenses in the modern NBA and Roberson goes a long way towards addressing the Lakers' needs here.
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